I have always tried to follow the example set by my parents in taking responsibility for my actions. This is something that most successful people do as a matter of fact. In 2001, John G. Miller published a book called, “QBQ! The Question Behind the Question,” in which he talks about personal responsibility in work and life. John wrote a follow-up titled, “Flipping the Switch, Unleash the Power Personal Accountability Using the QBQ!,” in 2006.
In QBQ!, John talks about asking the right kind of question to get things done. His premise is that we can only control ourselves and how we respond to problems. Questions like, “Why does this happen to me?” are counter productive. Instead, we should be asking, “What can I do to fix this?”
Flipping the Switch takes asking the right kind of question from the QBQ! and talks about five practices that will lead to a richer life (perhaps both figuratively and literally). The five practices are called the Advantage Principles. They are
- LEARNING: Live an engaged and energized life through positive personal growth and change
- OWNERSHIP: Attain goals by becoming a solution-oriented person who solves problems
- CREATIVITY: Find new ways to achieve by succeeding “within the box”
- SERVICE: Do for others what you don’t have to do, and build a legacy by helping people succeed
- TRUST: Develop deep and rewarding relationships
John teaches through example and gives examples of using each of the Advantage Principles in Flipping the Switch.
It is not necessary to buy the QBQ! book in order to read Flipping the Switch. John reviews the QBQ! in chapter 2 of Flipping the Switch. The QBQ! book does have many examples of asking the right kind of question, so it is also worth a read, but if I could only afford one book, it would be Flipping the Switch.
I bought both books and read them without stopping. They are both fairly short and take around an hour each to read. So you may want to pick up both.
QBQ!, Inc., has an online presence. They not only have quotes from the book and an online video, but they have a downloadable keynote of John delivering the QBQ! message to a group of sales people. It is an inspiring discussion of how asking the right questions can make your life better and more rewarding. You can also subscribe to an email feed of short stories of personal accountability.
Sometimes when I need a pick-me-up, I will pull the book out and re-read a chapter. It never fails to energize me and flip the switch.